NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
DESTRUCTION IN KOBE
SEPTEMBER 23, 2018, HYOGO, JAPAN – KOBE WORLD MEMORIAL HALL
– A little different report here this time. I will cover the prelims in short form with the results. But the main focus is the final two matches.
– The goal was to get this show out earlier yesterday, but I went to see Fozzy instead. If you’ve never seen them, do yourself a favor and get to one of their shows. Just a fantastic loud, rock show. Now onto everything else that was Destruction in Kobe.
– Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Mark Warzecha.
1. Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura
– Young Lions matchup here. You can guess the finish here with Kevin Kelly playing spoiler. He informs us that these guys have fought to a 10 minute draw like 139 times. Match goes the 10 minutes to a draw. Nice touch at the end with Tsuji refusing to break the Boston Crab as the time expired.
2. Ren Narita & Shota Umino vs. Roppongi 3K (w/ Rocky Romero)
– Shota continues to shine on another level than the other Lions. While SHO and YOH did work a different style in this match, nothing really stuck out here. YOH ends up pinning Narita with the Falcon Arrow @ 8:49.
3. Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Tiger Mask IV vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
– Say what you will about the Liger/Tiger pairing. On paperr, not the team you’d think would have a fun match, third into the show. Great match! And Liger is just so fucking over still. If he were to face Jesus Christ one-on-one, crowd would be split. Speaking of which, Tiger Mask pins Kanemaru with a crucifix @ 6:47.
– With a non-title win over the Jr Tag Champions, Liger and Tiger issue a challenge for the belts post match.
4. Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima, & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Ayoto Yoshida, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma, & Togi Makabe
– Good to see that Togi Makabe isn’t playing into this rugby bullshit of Taguchi. Nakanishi isn’t playing into the idea of having any sort of neck for his team. Nagata still looked great and landed a hard kick to the chest of Yoshida that made me jump back. Nagata pins Yoshida with the bridging bck sulex @10:03.
– Rocky Romero has joined the commentary booth.
5. Killer Elite Squad vs. Best Friends
– I was hoping for a better match than Beppu. Unfortunately, just kind of all over the place with no one really selling anything. Finish comes when KES hit the Killer Bomb on Trent, but he miraculously hooks a crucifix on Archer for the fluke win @ 12:42.
– As we transition, Kevin Kelly really sums up the situation in the CHAOS group perfectly: Should Okada re-focus on the leadership of CHAOS instead of winning the WrestleKingdom title shot.
6. Jay White, YOSHI-HASHI, and Will Ospreay vs. Toa Hennare, David Finlay, (C BLOCK CHAMPION OF THE WORLD!) and Juice Robinson
– YOSHI is just sucking all the fun out of everything that is this match. It’s like you see a scene in the movie where people are having fun and “here comes the fun police”. Well it’s like that except he’s like the charisma police. End of the match, Hennare is runnign a house of fire. He was red hot to the point, I was even pulling for the kid. YOSHI-HASHI (imagine this) holds Hennare up for a charging Jay White, but Hennare ducks and YOSHI gets nailed to the outside. Hennare with a quick rollup for a 2, but runs into Blade Runner. CHAOS wins it @ 9:06.
7. TAKA Michinoku, Zack Sabre Jr, and Minoru Suzuki vs. SANADA, EVIL, and Tetsuya Naito
– I wonder if ZSJ even has a clue for what ever TAKA spews at the beginning of his matches. Naito and Suzuki really profiled heavily in this match. More of a continuance of their battle in Beppu. Around the ten minute mark, EVIL and TAKA are the legal men. TAKA actually got some offense in before falling to Everything is Evil @ 11:20.
– Funny post match occurance. So, as many of you know, Minoru Suzuki takes out his frustrations on the Young Lions around the ring. Poor Yota Tsuji fell victim to a Suzuki attack on the ramp. As Naito and the rest of LIJ are leaving, Naito stops and checks on him. Tsuji starts to make it to his feet and Naito lays in the boots to the poor kid. That earned rewind honors.
IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL MATCH
8. BUSHI vs. KUSHIDA
– It’s been a while since I’ve heard BUSHI’s single entrance music. Still not digging it. He enters in a shiny, silver suit. He is donning a white feather head dress with not 1, not 2, but 4 masks in total. For some reason, Red Shoes is holding the title. I understand this is the first of two steps to the belt, but why show it before the final. KUSHIDA enters to the FirePro music. BUSHI comes out firing upon the bell. KUSHIDA eventually gets the upper hand by working over the left arm. Some very innovative submission variations on the arm by KUSHIDA. BUSHI finally breaks free with a back cracker that sends KUSHIDA to the floor. BUSHI brings him back using a head scissor submission until KUSHIDA makes the ropes. BUSHI then locks in a modified crossface to continue to wear down KUSHIDA. KUSHIDA makes the ropes and BUSHI nails the second rope missile dropkick. BUSHIROONIE! Eventually, its KUSHIDA ducking a clothesline and hitting a kick to the face to gain the upper hand. At the 10 minute mark, KUSHIDA plants BUSHI with a top rope superplex. He holds on and attempts Back to the Future, but BUSHI counters with a swinging neckbreaker. Both men fight from their feet and BUSHI plants him with a Code Breaker that sends KUSHIDA to the outside. BUSHI attempts the dive to the outside and KUSHIDA side steps. He locks in a crossface on the floor!!!! Back in, KUSHIDA charges with a kick to the arm. He chrges again and BUSHI turns and kicks him flush in the mouth. As both men recover, KUSHIDA attempts a handspring and runs into a CANADIAN DESTROYER! Cover gets 2.5. At this point, the action is so fast, I can barely keep up! BUSHI up to the second rope and KUSHIDA catches him in an armbar submission and attempts to turn for the Hoverboard Lock. BUSHI is struggling to the ropes and grabs Red Shoes as all three men tumble over back to the center. BUSHI gets leverage and sprays the black mist into the eyes of KUSHIDA!! BUSHI with the backslide and bridge over the top! KUSHIDA kicks out at 2.9999! KUSHIDA with a FULL face of black counters a Code Breaker attempt with BACK TO THE FUTURE! He holds on! A SECOND BACK TO THE FUTURE! Cover gets 3 and KUSHIDA has advanced to the final @ 16:42! (An incredible match between these two! They have always done incredible things, but this match had a little of everything. Usually KUSHIDA takes the brunt of the punishment for long periods of time, but this time was 50/50. You had some highspots, a little submission, not too many crazy spots…just a fine wrestling match. B+.)
WRESTLE KINGDOM TITLE CERTIFICATE MATCH
9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (G1 Winner)
– Okada enters the ring in his old Rainmaker coat. Kelly notes its been 1,357 days since Okada has lost to Tanahashi. Bell rings and Okada just stands in the corner stoic. They eventually lock up and exchange headlocks and shoulderblocks. Okada cuts him off with a cheap shot and starts to showhe will be playing heel tonight. Tanahashi dropkicks Okada to the floor and slingshots to the outside. Tanahashi seems to have injured his knee. Okada gets him back in and goes after the knee like a shark smelling blood. Okada is so good at his little quips. Instead of working the knee over with a submission, he just grinds his foot into the side of the knee. Crowd is loudly booing him and he just glances around. He has Tanahashi’s leg draped outside in the corner and cranks on the knee until the referee gets to 4. Instead of saying anything, he just backs up and glances back. He now hooks in a single leg submission in the center until Tanahashi fights to the ropes. He holds on until 4 and looks up at Red Shoes and just releases. Tanahashi tries to fight back but their is nothing much behind his shots as his knee is hurting him. He cacthes Okada’s leg and snaps off a dragon screw. He hits a sommersault senton on Okada, which I find kind of weird for a guy who’s leg is bothering him that much. He hits another one of the second rope and cover gets 2. Okada ducks a couple of clotheslines and spears him with a diving elbow to take back over. He sticks Tanahashi with a DDT that stands him on his head for 2. Okada attempts a modified Ushiguroshi, but Tanahashi escapes. A second attempt connects. But Okada’s knee is bothering him a bit so he lands a basement dropkick at the 15 minute mark. He places Tanahashi on the top rope and hits his 6 Star Dropkick. Tanahashi’s leg gets trapped under the top rope and he’s dangling upside down. Young Lions help him back up in he falls into the ring. Now Okada hits a knee breaker into a figure four as if he’s Ric Flair from 30 years ago. Tanahashi has his hand on the heel of Okada trying to push it up but Okada uses his leg strength to push it back down. Tanahashi finally able to push the leg up to overturn the figure four and the roll to the ropes at the 20 minute mark. Both men tumble to the outside and Okada lifts the leg high, driving the knee to the floor. Okada grabs Tanahashi, but Tanahashi is super human and delivers a Tombstone piledriver on the floor to Okada. Instead of taking a countout, Tanahashi is up on the top rope. Oh Jesus Christ! HIGH FLY FLOW TO THE OUTSIDE! Even worse, he got Okada’s head instead of landing more body to body. Tanahashi refuses to take a count out and rolls him back in. But Okada is up and attempts the Rainmaker Clothesline. Tanahashi ducks, TWIST AND SHOUT! Tanahashi off the ropes, SLINGBLADE! Cover gets 2.999! Tanahashi headed up top, High Fly Flow but Okada gets the knees up! This match is being worked just the way it was designed. Crowd has turned on Okada and fully behind Tanahashi. Both men battle for the Tombstone at the 25 minute mark. Back to center as they trade forearms. Tanahashi with a sunset flip for 2 and right back the dragon screw. Tanahashi hits the ropes and runs into the 6 Star Dropkick. Rainmaker attempt, ducked and drops Okada. Tombstone attempt but Tanahashi fights away. Okada catches him for a Rainmaker, countered to a Slingblade! HIGH FLY FLOW but Tanahashi is in too much pain to cover. He finally can try to cover and Okada kicks out at 2.5. 30 minutes now have elapsed. Tanahashi is headed back up top, HIGH FLY FLOW COUNTERED BY THE 6 STAR DROPKICK BY OKADA!!! Tombstone by Okada, but his knee is now bothering him. Rainmaker pose. Both try the Rainmaker. Okada spins and lays him out with a lariat. Rainmaker attempt, ducked, German Suplex by Tanahashi! Cover gets 2.999999999999!!!! Tanahashi is headed up for a 5th time. Okada dropkicks him down to the corner and chases him to the top. Okada scoops him up for a second rope Tombstone?!?!? Tanahashi elbows out and Okada slips down. Now Okada wants it again, but Tanakashi knocks him back down. Third attempt up top and Tanahashi stuns him with a shot the dazes Okada. Tanahashi hits a HIGHFLOW FLY AS OKADA IS DROPPING TO THE MAT! NOW ANOTHER HIGH FLY FLOW! AND A THIRD HIGH FLY FLOW FINALLY DEFEATS KAZUCHIKA OKADA @ 35:44!!!! (I mean….how do rate greatness on top of greatness? This match, just like every other one, told a different story. Dating back to when I started watching and Tanahashi had beaten him at Wrestle Kingdom to the following year when Okada beat him, every match had something they fought for. Headed into this match, many thought Okada would stamp his way into history again by being the first match to take the contract from a G1 winner. But the way they told this story from beginnning to end was amazing. Only draw back is when you put on so many great matches in a rivalry, you tend to go back to a lot of the same spots you’ve seen before. A.)
– Now the post match stuff, everyone is talking about. Tanahashi barely has time to touch the briefcase before he is attacked by Jay White and gets a Blade Runner for his troubles. Kevin Kelly, in perfect timing, calls him a son…of a…bitch. Now White lays the boots to Okada. Young Lions run in and White takes liberties with all of them. White walks over to Rocky Romero at ringside and demands HIS chair. Rocky ain’t having it and gets introduced to the guardrail. Here comes YOSHI-HASHI. He’s bleeding. Why? Because he bladed before he took a fucking chair shot to the face from Jay White. YOSHI-HASHI, ladies and gentlemen. White stalks Okada with the chair. Gedo arrives and grabs the chair. He reprimands White and stands behind Okada with the chair. White and Okada are face to face and Gedo with the lightest of ginger chair shots to the back for Okada. White, not one to be upstaged, grabs Okada and calls him a motherfucker as he drops him with a Blade Runner. Okada says both men don’t matter because they have both lost to Jay White. He hands the briefcase to Jay White. Gedo signs off with “new era coming soon”. It’s now official, Tanahashi vs. White for the briefcase.
– Helluva deal here to end the show. Sets up a great show this weekend. Really sucks that KUSHIDA and BUSHI were overshadowed by that angle. Now don’t get me wrong. It was a great swerve, but a chance to redeem something for YOSHI just looked very horrible. Okada vs Tanahashi delivers as it always will. 10 years from now, if Tanahashi is in good enough shape, they will still be able to put on a show like that.